Luke Rowe: Geraint Thomas is still the Tour de France favourite

Geraint Thomas wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey and teammate Luke Rowe hold the Welsh flag

Luke Rowe starts his fifth Tour de France in Brussels on Sunday in his usual domestique's role for Team Ineos . The question is, who – between defending champion Geraint Thomas and young pretender Egan Bernal – will he be working for come the final week of the race? It's the same question that everyone's asking, from fans, to the media, to rival teams. And Rowe has the answer: the road will decide. But the 29-year-old Welshman is in the privileged position of being an inside man – and knows both of his GC-contender teammates' qualities and personalities well. "The Tour de Suisse was a disappointment, and Geraint was right next to me when he went down," Rowe told reporters on Friday, referring to Thomas' crash that ended the stage race early for him in June, but with no lasting damage. "It would have been a better scenario to have ...

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Pinot: I want to show the real me in the Tour de France

Thibaut Pinot at the Groupama-FDJ press conference ahead of the 2019 Tour de France

Thibaut Pinot leads the Groupama-FDJ team of manager Marc Madiot for the 100th edition of the Tour de France . After a few difficult years, Pinot, 29, is hoping to regain the form that earned him stage wins and a podium in 2014. The team decided in December to focus solely on Pinot by leaving their sprinter Arnaud Démare at home. In the absence of Christopher Froome and Tom Dumoulin, it's 'l'année ou jamais' (now or never) for Pinot, as French media stated during the team's press conference in Brussels Expo on Wednesday evening. Pinot was asked if he wasn't fed up with the question. "No, I'm not bored about the question but I don't understand it, really. I'm 29 years old so I've still got quite a few years ahead of me. On the other hand, this is a year in which I'm hitting peak form, I'm keen to ...

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Zakarin, Dowsett and Politt form eclectic Katusha-Alpecin team for Tour de France

Ilnur Zakarin rides to the start

Ilnur Zakarin will lead the Katusha-Alpecin team at the Tour de France , with Alex Dowsett, Rick Zabel, Mads Würtz Schmidt, Nils Politt , José Gonçalves, Jens Debusschere and Marco Haller also in an eclectic line-up that will target stage victories. The Russian and German backed team has won just five races this season, including the recent British and Portuguese national time trial titles and their long-term future remains unclear. Marcel Kittel left the team in early May , with the German sprinter and the team agreeing to terminate their contract with immediate affect as Kittel reflected on his future in the sport. The Haller, Dowsett and Zabel lead out train built for Kittel will now likely support Debusschere, with Dowsett and Gonçalves targeting the stage 13 time trial in Pau. It will be the British rider's second Tour de France. He made his debut in 2015 but failed to ...

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Fuglsang backed by 'strong and experienced' Astana team at Tour de France

Jakob Fuglsang on the final Dauphine podium

Critérium du Dauphiné winner Jakob Fuglsang will lead a strong Astana team at the Tour de France, with Alexey Lutsensko, Pello Bilbao and Gorka Izagirre among the supporting cast. The eight-man roster is completed by Canada's Hugo Houle, Omar Fraile, Magnus Cort and Luis Leon Sanchez, giving the Kazakhstani team options for stage victories. "With this strong and experienced team, we are ready to fight for the best possible result," Astana manager Dmitriy Fofonov said in a statement released by the team. Although Fuglsang’s best-ever placing in a Grand Tour remains his 7th place on the 2013 Tour de France, he has added his name to the list of favourites for this year’s race after a remarkable sequence of performances and results so far in 2019. Fuglsang soloed to victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April and finished on the podium at Strade Bianche, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Tirreno-Adriatico. The ...

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The weekly spin: Jakob Fuglsang’s last, best chance to win the Tour de France

Can a veteran rider well into his thirties who has never stood on a Grand Tour podium win the Tour de France? It happened last year with Geraint Thomas — another rider who had not historically been the strongest climber nor time trialist, but was always capable at both — and it could well happen … The post The weekly spin: Jakob Fuglsang’s last, best chance to win the Tour de France appeared first on CyclingTips .

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What does Chris Froome’s withdrawal mean for the 2019 Tour de France?

Chris Froome is out of the 2019 Tour de France after a serious crash in training at the Criterium du Dauphine. The four-time Tour champion is still in hospital and, with doctors saying he requires at least six months off the bike, his season is almost certainly over. Hopefully, he is able to make a … The post What does Chris Froome’s withdrawal mean for the 2019 Tour de France? appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Bouhanni's Dauphine departure increases odds against Tour de France selection

Christophe Laporte comes up to teammate Nacer Bouhanni after stage 1 of the Route d'Occitaine

Nacer Bouhanni 's ( Cofidis ) abandonment at the Critérium du Dauphiné on stage 2 still has his team management searching for answers, and with the Tour de France selection just a matter of weeks away, the Frenchman looks destined to miss out on a place for the second year running. Bouhanni was dropped on stage 2 of the Dauphiné and failed to finish the stage. He came into the race hoping to secure his first win of the campaign, but after firing blanks at the Tour of California and completing only one stage of the Dauphiné, the 28-year-old's chances of returning to the Tour look slim as the status between rider and management continue to deteriorate. "We'll have a meeting next week with the sports directors and Cedric Vasseur, and we'll decide on the pre-selection for the Tour de France," Roberto Damiani told Cyclingnews on Tuesday. "After the national ...

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Oomen ends season to undergo iliac artery surgery

Sam Oomen (Sunweb)

Sam Oomen ( Team Sunweb ) has been forced to end his season due to an iliac artery problem that will require surgery. The 23-year-old Dutchman, who finished ninth overall at last year's Giro d'Italia while supporting Tom Dumoulin , has been struggling with pain and loss of power in his left leg for a number of months and was recently diagnosed with iliac artery flow limitation. Despite posting some strong results, such as fifth at the Volta ao Algarve and ninth at Tirreno-Adriatico, physiotherapy was deemed unsuccessful and it was decided an operation would be required to fully rectify the problem. After crashes brought a premature end to his Giro d'Italia - where he'd been drafted in late to cover for the injured Wilco Kelderman - Oomen has been booked in for surgery in six weeks' time. "In an attempt to solve the issues we tried numerous treatments such ...

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Geraint Thomas on Tour de France defence: The competition is definitely tougher this year

The final podium – Costa, Roglic, Thomas (L-R)

Geraint Thomas ( Team Ineos ) is confident that he'll be competitive and ready to try to defend his Tour de France title this July following some extended post-win celebrations and a winter of media appearances. In an interview published on on Tuesday, Thomas said that he's now only about a kilogram away from his optimum racing weight of 67kg, and that his third place overall at the Tour de Romandie in early May was the confidence boost he needed to know that he was on the way back to his best, although he admitted that the competition he'll face could be tougher than ever at this year's Tour de France. "By the start of last November, even though I still had three weeks of doing stuff, I was itching to get back on the bike," he said, referring to the multiple public appearances and media interviews he did ...

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Nibali, Roglic, Carapaz climb UCI World Ranking after Giro d'Italia

2019 Giro d'Italia winner Richard Carapaz poses with Ecuador's flag on the final podium in Verona.

The UCI's World Ranking has seen something of a shake-up thanks to the Giro d'Italia , with Richard Carapaz (Movistar), Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) all climbing the overall standings. Julian Alaphilippe remains in control of the individual standings thanks to his superb start to the season. Despite not winning a stage of the Giro d’Italia, Alaphilippe's Deceuninck-QuickStep are still well clear of the chasing pack in the teams classification, while France continue to lead Belgium in the nations rankings. Alaphilippe’s lead in the individual standings has been cut down to just 50 points, with Roglic climbing three places to second after a stint in the maglia rosa and finishing third place overall at the Giro d’Italia. Roglic has raced 41 days this season, solely at WorldTour level, with the UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie - all of which he won - providing his preparation ...

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Roglic keen to learn from his mistakes after securing Giro d'Italia podium spot

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

Primoz Roglic ( Jumbo-Visma ) rarely lets his face reveal his true emotion but there was a real sense of relief and happiness in his smile after he managed to pull back 31 seconds on Mikel Landa (Movistar) in the final time trial and so finish third overall in the Giro d'Italia . The three-week race also offered lots of lesson for the future about nutrition, tactics, bike change protocols and even dealing with the constant media scrutiny. Roglic dominated the opening hilly time trial in Bologna on stage 1 but rode mostly on the defensive for the rest of the race, especially after crashing on the descent to Como on stage 14 after a debacle of a bike change. Roglic damaged his ribs that day but rode on in pain, fighting to stay with Landa, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), eventual winner Richard Carapaz (Movistar) and hold onto the hope of ...

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Giro d'Italia: Roglic accepts penalty for push knowing podium is in reach

Primoz Roglic crosses the line, having shed time to Mikel Landa

Primoz Roglic rarely expresses his emotions in public but took a moment to thank the many Slovenian fans who gathered at the Jumbo-Visma bus at the foot of the climb to Croce d'Aune-Monte Avena, shaking their hands in thanks, smiling in appreciation of their support and bowing his head in a sign of respect. Roglic is likely to finish third overall in the Giro d'Italia if he can pull back 23 seconds on Mikel Landa (Movistar) during the 17km Verona time trial. It is a good result and one he seems happy with after a rollercoaster three weeks that include a dominant victory in the opening Bologna time trial and five days in the maglia rosa. But the race has also thrown at Roglic a bike change debacle, a crash on the descent into Como and then a fight in the mountains to limit his time losses to Carapaz, Nibali ...

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How to tell Adam and Simon Yates apart

Last week we looked at how to tell Germany’s top male cyclists apart. In some ways that was an easy task — Pascal Ackermann, Max Schachmann and Emanuel Buchmann all look different, and their names aren’t all that similar. Today, we’ve got a bigger task ahead of us: separating the Yates twins. To even the … The post How to tell Adam and Simon Yates apart appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Giro d'Italia: Vuillermoz falls into ravine after asthma attack on Mortirolo

Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R La Mondiale)

AG2R La Mondiale 's leader at this year's Giro d'Italia , Alexis Vuillermoz , was left thanking his team and the race organisation after an asthma attack caused him to crash into a ravine while climbing the Mortirolo during stage 16 on Tuesday . "Huge thanks to all the staff and friends of AG2R La Mondiale, and to the Giro organisation, for having made me safe after a severe asthma attack on the Mortirolo, which caused me to fall into a ravine… while climbing!" he wrote in a tweet, adding an 'Edvard Munch, The Scream' emoji. Vuillermoz also wrote, "Fall down seven times, get up eight?" presumably referring to a pro career that has been blighted by injury and misfortune in recent years, including injuring his hamstring in a crash at the Tirreno-Adriatico in March, a fractured shoulder after crashing at last year's Tour de France and a fractured vertebra ...

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The weekly spin: A freewheeling interview with Peter Sagan

It’s a Friday afternoon in Sacramento. In 48 hours, Peter Sagan will take his second victory of the 2019 season, narrowly out-sprinting American Travis McCabe in front of the state capitol building. But that’s unknown in this moment. Right now, Sagan is fresh out of an Amgen Tour of California press conference, the same one … The post The weekly spin: A freewheeling interview with Peter Sagan appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Lefevere: Keeping Alaphilippe comes down to money

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) attends a press conference on April 19 ahead of the Amstel

Patrick Lefevere has made Julian Alaphilippe a contract offer but the Belgian team boss is still none the wiser as to whether the French rider will stay with Deceuninck-QuickStep beyond 2019. Alaphilippe has been linked with a big-money transfer to Total Direct Energie for 2020, with the French team significantly increasing their budget after Total came on as a sponsor earlier this year. Lefevere has a fight on his hands to keep a number of high-profile riders, with Alaphilippe, Elia Viviani and Enric Mas among those on the transfer market for next year. Alaphilippe, in particular, has enjoyed a remarkable start to the season with eight wins already, including victories in La Flèche Wallonne, Milan-San Remo, Strade Bianche and two stages in Tirreno-Adriatico. He is currently training for the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France , where last year he won two stages and the King of the ...

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Peter Sagan finding Tour de France legs in California

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) took the leader's jersey after winning the opening stage of the 2019 To

Peter Sagan 's struggle with an early-season illness that led to sub-par performances in the spring Classics could be turning around at the Tour of California . The former triple road race world champion is preparing to win a seventh green jersey at this year's Tour de France . Bora-Hansgrohe director Jan Valach says the team back Sagan entirely, and believe that his stage victory in Sacramento on Sunday was exactly the morale-boost that both he and the team needed. "Yes, we're very happy with that win because it was important for Peter and for Bora-Hansgrohe," Valach told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 2, a 214.5km mountain stage to South Lake Tahoe, on Monday. "I'm also happy for him that he has come back with this victory, and that he can continue on like this into the season. In the spring, he was sick, and then he found it ...

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Roger De Vlaeminck is still racing

Roger De Vlaeminck’s record speaks for itself. In a career spanning nearly two decades he notched up more than 160 victories, not least four Paris-Roubaix titles (the equal record), three wins at Milan-San Remo, six overall titles at Tirreno-Adriatico (with 15 stage wins), and a massive 22 stage victories at the Giro d’Italia. He won … The post Roger De Vlaeminck is still racing appeared first on CyclingTips .

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The weekly spin: George Bennett talks California, Kittel, and Game of Thrones

The last time George Bennett started the Amgen Tour of California, he won the race. He didn’t win any stages at the 2017 edition, but on the strength of several high placings in the mountains and a strong time trial, the 29-year-old Kiwi took the first (and only) pro victory of his career, ahead of … The post The weekly spin: George Bennett talks California, Kittel, and Game of Thrones appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Roglic leads after Giro d’Italia Stage 1

Supported by Bologna (Italy) (AFP) – Slovenian Primoz Roglic won the first stage of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday ahead of Britain’s Simon Yates, pulling on the leader’s pink jersey after an eight kilometre individual time-trial. The three-week race got underway in Bologna and finished with an uphill ride to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San … The post Roglic leads after Giro d’Italia Stage 1 appeared first on CyclingTips .

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